Are We Falling Short in Spiritual Gifts?
Monte Showalter, Inter Regional Missionary Evangelist & International Coordinator of Global Campus Ministries — The more something is preached, the more faith there is to believe for it! Bro. Pugh used to tell us, “You get what you preach so preach what you want to see happen.” If we learn to live in the Spirit through our daily prayer life spending time in His presence, then we will also walk in the Spirit, being led moment by moment to minister to those around us. It is more in everyday conversations and connections than just in a church setting on public display. Jesus, as our example, did these wonders in both settings, in the Temple and synagogues and in the streets and homes.
What holds some back from the Spirit ministering through them is the lack of being sensitive to God’s voice on a daily basis. We must not fall into the attitude of Laodicea and into carnality, being lulled to sleep by love for things and the world’s entertainment.
In my opinion, each of us has these gifts latent in us through the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It is the need that prompts the gift’s operation. It is not something that we pray down, though we are instructed to “covet earnestly the best gifts” (1 Cor. 12:31) and to “desire spiritual gifts” (1 Cor. 14:1). It is something that rises up in us being motivated by compassion for the need present before us (Matt. 14:14). From Mark 16:16, it is obvious that these gifts are even for the newest believers. The prerequisite is to “believe.”
Greg Stone, Brewton, AL — I believe that the gifts of the spirit should be in operation in the church and are in need in the last days to help the church in its desire to become what God wants it to be. In my opinion, the reason that we do not see the gifts in operation more than we do is because of the abuse of the gifts. Many people are leery of someone that claims to have a gift due to situations in which a person misrepresented the gifts. Situations like that destroy trust and make it hard for people to accept the operation of the gifts. I believe that a pastor, to encourage the use of the gifts, must teach the gifts. When people have a better understanding of what the gifts are for and how they operate, it helps people overcome distrust and open themselves up to the operation of the gifts of the spirit. If a person desires to become more available to be used in the operation of the gifts, I would recommend much prayer, fasting, study and counseling with honorable mentors who are experienced in this area.
Bruce Bartel, West Kelowna, BC, Canada — Haggai 2:9 — “The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, saith the Lord of hosts.” IF we are going to witness a harvest the way we hope for, we need to have and see more and more of the Spirit of God moving. The more we get out of the way, the more the Lord can have HIS way . . . After all, He said HE will build HIS church (Matt. 16:18).
Hosea 4:6 — “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge…” We have seen people make ship-wreck of their lives following after the Spirit gifts. Also, incorrect and skewed teachings have restricted us from being open to and allowing the Spirit of God to manifest. That, coupled with our fear of the unknown and the vulnerability of not being in control, also restricts God’s Spirit flowing through us.
Leadership Ministry must first be open to, allow and promote the operation of the Spirit giftings. A good place to start is to come to terms that the scriptures are full from cover to cover with the supernatural. As God is no respecter of persons, our “responsibility” is to be available and get out of the way and let God work through us. Everyone and anyone can do that! Begin praying for and seeking after the Spirit gifts. Study the scriptures and realize it is the will of God to show Himself and express Himself in more ways than we can imagine (2 Chron. 16:9; 1Cor. 2:9).
Ric Gonzalez, Brookfield, IL — We are seeing a great increase in the gifts of the Spirit. There is a recognition of their proper place in the body under well-established accountability. Their resurgence under these conditions is paramount. Regardless of the fact that we are living in the last days, there has always been a rightful Biblical place for the gifts. I feel that in some circles they were limited or all together “banned” due to misuse and abuse. But Scripture has always assumed their presence and proper operation. We must teach and preach on the subject with consistency. Accountability and proper administration of the gifts must be woven in. Practical hands-on training must be incorporated as needed when they are manifested or trying to be manifested.
I personally believe there’s a hermeneutical application and precedent in Scripture to conclude “everyone” has a gift or can operate in more than one gift (1 Cor. 7:7, 12:7). I encourage the highest level of integrity and a prayerful and passionate search to develop the Fruit of the Spirit as a platform for the gifts of the Spirit to be built on. However, Matthew 7:16-23 is a warning. I have personally seen needs in a particular setting draw “gifts” out of even the most compromised and iniquitous people. God’s Word will carry out its mission and purpose (Isaiah 55:11). But there is no promise it will prosper the vessel that speaks it. We must never trust the “performance” without identifying its “position.”